Bulgarian and Romanian expats increasingly drawn to the UK

New ONS statistics show a particularly unbalanced migratory movement between the UK and EU2 countries. The study also showed the average age of migrants moving to the UK to be significantly younger.

Romania and Bulgaria on European map
More than 65 times more Romanians and Bulgarians are living in the UK than the total of Britons who have moved to the two eastern European countries, according to official data published in London on Wednesday.

Bulgarian and Romanian expats in the UK on the rise

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of expats from Bulgaria and Romania living in Britain by the end of last year amounted to 413,000. This compared to just 6,200 UK citizens resident in the two EU countries.Last year’s total from Bulgaria and Romania – referred to as the EU2 nations – compared to 234,000 in 2014, the year the pair were given unrestricted access to live and work in the UK, despite being admitted to the EU seven years earlier.

Migration movement particularly ‘lopsided’ between UK and EU2

Rich Pereira, deputy director for population statistics at the ONS, said, “The picture of migration between the UK and the EU2 countries clearly shows a somewhat lopsided balance of movement, with the UK evidently proving an attractive labour market for Romanian and Bulgarian citizens since those countries’ full accession to the EU.“This presents an obvious area of concern for both those large numbers of citizens who have moved to the UK, and for the jobs they have been doing, as the UK continues its negotiations to leave the EU.”Between the beginning of 2014 and the end of last year, there was estimated to be an annual average of 328,400 EU2 citizens resident in the UK, of which 78 per cent (256,800) were Romanians and 22 per cent (71,700) Bulgarian.

Bulgarian and Romanians in UK of working age

The ONS found 81 per cent of EU2 nationals were aged between 16-64 with most of them in fulltime employment. On the other hand, the bulk of Britons living in Romania and Bulgaria were aged 50-plus.Among EU2 citizens of working age in the UK, only four per cent were estimated to be unemployed; five per cent (12,600) were economically inactive because of studies; and 12 per cent (32,100) were “otherwise economically inactive”.
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The ONS found that the most common sectors where EU2 nationals were employed were construction, distribution, and hotels and restaurants. Together, these industries accounted for almost a half of the jobs occupied by EU2 expats.Among Bulgarians, some 18 per cent worked in banking and finance, while 14 per cent of Romanians nationals were employed in the sector.The report also said that an estimated 3,900 British expats were living in Bulgaria last year, with 2,300 others living in Romania.For related news and features, visit our Immigration section.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  

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